April 4, 2006
RE: THE DISCRIMINATORY POLICIES OF THE STATUS OF WOMEN
Since 1973, the federal taxpayers have paid hundreds of millions of dollars to feminist-only organizations by way of the Women's Program at the Status of Women Canada. The mission statement of the Status of Women is "to promote gender equality and the full participation of women in the economic, social, cultural and political life of the country". Its practical effect, however, is that only feminist objectives and feminist women in Canada are promoted by the agency. Other women's organizations, which have differing perspectives from that of feminism are denied funding and recognition.
The Status of Women refuses to fund organizations that are not feminist on the premise that it funds only "equality - seeking" women's organizations, and in its view, only feminist organizations are validly seeking equality for women. This is highly discriminatory since most women support the equality of women - but there are different ways to interpret and achieve this objective. For example, the promotion of the equality of women is one of the objectives included in the Objects of Incorporation for REAL Women, yet the Status of Women does not accept our organization as an "equality - seeking" organization.
Feminist organizations, however, do not represent Canadian women in general but rather a special interest group of women whose ideology is that of feminism. The feminist ideology does not now, and never has had the support of the vast majority of Canadian women. Thus, this funding of the special interest group of feminists by the Status of Women is highly biased and discriminatory, and provides an uneven playing field for all other women's organizations in Canada.
Because of its discriminatory policies, the Women's Program of the Status of Women has made only a few token grants to REAL Women of Canada over the years and these small grants were stopped entirely in 1996. Nor has REAL Women been invited to participate in activities supported by the Status of Women. An exception arose in December of 1999 when the Status of Women sponsored a Consultation on Gender Equality, to which REAL Women was given an invitation. However, the feminist participants at that conference, whose organizations depend solely for their existence on the Status of Women funding, insisted that REAL Women's invitation be withdrawn. When our representative refused to leave the conference, the feminist participants isolated, ignored and then booed her and refused to permit her to participate in the conference in any way. Since that conference, REAL Women has not been invited to participate in any further conferences sponsored by the Status of Women, even though our organization represents the views of over 55,000 Canadian women.
Extent of Funding to Feminist Organizations
An application was made under the Access to Information Act for information about the funding by the Status of Women in the ten-year period from 1992 - 2002. A further application was made under the Act for information about funding for the fiscal year 2004 - 2005.
According to this material, hundreds of feminist organizations receive government funding each year from the Program. For example, between 1997 - 2003 alone, the number of recipients and the total of the grants awarded to them by Status of Women were as follows:
Year - Number of Recipients - Amount
1997-1998 343 $ 8,286,059
1998-1999 262 $10,321,916
1999-2000 207 $ 8,502,412
2000-2001 227 $ 9,810,390
2001-2002 215 $10,385,851
2002-2003 222 $12,297,090
Organizations funded by the Status of Women include national, provincial and regional feminist organizations, such as the following:
* The legal arm of the feminist organization, The Legal Education Action Fund (LEAF) received $900,334 over a 10-year period, 1992 - 2002, which enabled this group to intervene in court cases and to mount their own court challenges. In contrast, REAL Women of Canada was obliged to fund its own pro-family interventions before the courts.
* The National Association of Women and the Law (NAWL) received $1,648,318 in the same 10-year period. In the fiscal year 2004-2005, this organization received an additional grant of $474,879.
* The National Action Committee on the Status of Women, (NAC), the umbrella group for the feminist organizations of Canada, received $984,551 in the 10-year period, and In the fiscal year 2004 - 2005 received an additional $150,000.
* Child Care lobby groups, such as the Canadian Child Care Federation, and the Child Care Advocacy Association of Canada, received $1,362,209 between 1992 and 2002. These organizations form the pressure group for a national child care plan as recently proposed and implemented by the former Liberal government.
In the fiscal year 2004 - 2005 these child care lobby groups received a further $483,753 from the Women's Program. This large grant was given during the time that the former Liberal government was negotiating with the provinces for a national child care program.
On February 16, 2006, the tax funded Child Care Advocacy Association of Canada launched a Canada wide campaign called "Code Blue" to lobby for and work with the provincial / territorial governments and parliamentarians to prevent the present Conservative government from cancelling the federal / provincial agreements on child care made last year by the former Liberal government.
It is significant that these child care lobby groups have the most to gain from a national child care plan since such a program would provide them with financial security by placing them on the government payroll with secure income and benefits.
* In the 20-month period preceding December 4, 1998, lesbian organizations received $250,918. In the fiscal year 2004 - 2005, an additional $90,280 was awarded to a homosexual / lesbian association.
* 524 women's shelters across Canada have been funded by the Status of Women, even though such shelters fall within provincial jurisdiction. These women's centres serve as agents of change for feminists in communities across Canada. Feminists claim they provide protection from male assault, in spite of the fact that a Statistics Canada study, released in July 2003, found that more men were killed, hurt, or threatened by their partners in 2001 than in previous years. The study "Family Violence in Canada," funded by the Federal Family Violence Initiative, found that spousal violence has increased for both men and women. In 2001, there were 344 incidents per 100,000 women, and for men, there were 62 incidents for every 100,000 - the latter is up 40% from six years ago. Although there were many more incidents of assault against women, this does not mean that men should be neglected.
* The pro-abortion organization, BC Pro-Choice Action Network, initially received $60,220 in the 10-year period fro 1992 - 2002. However, in 2004 - 2005 it received $27,400. According to information on their web site, the spokesperson for this organization, Joyce Arthur, stated that opposition to abortion "comes primarily from religious justifications for oppressing women" and is due to a need to "maximize [the Catholic Church's] membership levels to maintain their worldly influence and wealth". This pro-abortion organization also accused pro-life Christians of being "religious fanatics" who do "little or nothing for children once they are born". She stated that pro-life Christians are "anti-woman and anti-child," and had views which were "uninformed, sexist, cruel". She also accused pro-life Christians of lacking the ability to empathize, which "breeds intolerance, hate crimes, and war". Ms. Arthur further stated, according to the web site, that pro-lifers' attitude towards women is like "the slaveholder's attitude to blacks, and the Nazi's attitude to Jews". That an organization that expresses such bigoted views, receives public funding is shameful and an unpardonable offense to the Canadian taxpayer.
* Organizations to promote the decriminalization of prostitution in Canada, namely the Canadian National Coalition of Experiential Women (CNCEW), received $325,000 to actively campaign to decriminalize solicitation for prostitution. In the fiscal year 2004 - 2005, it received an additional $322,646 from the Women's Program. This large grant was made at the time that the Liberal government had established a sub-committee of the Justice Committee to study the issue of prostitution. This Committee recommended that prostitution be decriminalized.
House of Commons Standing Committee on the Status of Women in Canada (FEWO)
It is also a concern to us, that the House of Commons Standing Committee of the Status of Women, which was established in October, 2004, serves to promote only feminist organizations and their feminist agenda in Canada. The Committee stated that it promotes "equality - seeking" women's organizations. Of course, its narrow definition of "equality" excludes all other women's organizations. The Committee's first report, tabled in the House of Commons on February 10, 2005, recommended that funding for women's [feminist] groups be increased by 25%. In its second report, tabled in the House of Commons on April 19, 2005, the Committee recommended that a "gender analysis" be carried out on all federal government departments, their policies, and proposed legislation. In practical terms, the purpose of this proposal is to ensure that all government actions be subject to feminist overview and approval in order to ensure that the feminist ideology is spread throughout Canada.
Such extreme recommendations by the Standing Committee on the Status of Women expose it as being out of touch with the views of most Canadian women. This group's recommendations fail to comply with the democratic process in regard to a full consultation and fair treatment of all organizations.
Therefore, we request, that the discriminatory Status of Women, as well as the Standing Committee on the Status of Women (FEWO), be disbanded, since they represent only the singular views of a special interest group of feminists. In short, these two agencies serve no purpose but to promote the views of a handful of extremist feminist organizations at the expense of the Canadian taxpayer. These feminist ideologues serve only to increase intolerance and disrespect towards those who do not share their views.
In this regard, it should be pointed out that women's organizations, being special interest organizations, should be self supporting as REAL Women of Canada has been since it was federally incorporated in 1983. REAL Women has managed to exist without debt, financed solely by the donations and dues of our grassroots members with only a few minor grants from the government. Similarly, all special interest groups should be required to do the same.
Feminist groups have few, if any, members, and are, in effect, mostly phantom organizations sustained only by the funding they receive from the Status of Women. Since these organizations represent no one but the radical feminists who run them, they should not receive financial support from the Canadian taxpayer.
REAL Women of Canada
Please write to:
The Right Hon. Stephen Harper
Prime Minister of Canada
80 Wellington Street
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A2
The Hon. Beverley Oda, P.C. M.P.
Minister of Canadian Heritage and Status of Women
Les Terrasses de la Chaudière
12th Floor, 15 Eddy Street
Gatineau, Quebec K1A 0M5
Please raise your objections to the funding policies of the Status of W omen and the discriminatory policies of the House of Commons Committee on the Status of Women.